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Thread: First Centerfire Rifle

  1. #1
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    First Centerfire Rifle

    Hey Guys,

    So I have owned by Ruger American Rimfire .22LR for a few weeks now. Am now wondering what centerfire rifle I should start saving for now. Will mostly be doing target shooting. I am looking for something that has reasonably priced ammo, (so I.E not .308) Does anyone have any suggestions on what caliber to go for, and which rifle?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member Steve123's Avatar
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    Get a 223, that way when the bunnies and other critters get to know how far to stay away for the 22 then you can surprise them, Even better would be buy my SKS.

  3. #3
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    308 is probably one of the cheapest centrefire ammo around, beaten only by 7.62x39 or 223. For targets the 223 would be what you are looking at if that is the case and also big enough for small game. As someone new to shooting, I would not suggest the 223 as a deer rifle but the 308 I would along with many others.

    As to what brand of rifle is best for you, how long is a piece of string.....There are many good brands and a few not so much. Find one that is comfortable and feels right when you hold it. Look at and handle, Tikka, Howa, Ruger, Mauser, Savage, Remington, etc. But this is not a comprehensive list by any means.

    Also, there are some 2nd hand rifles that would be a few hundred dollars cheaper that would allow you a better option of ammo price. What I mean is: How much do you want to spend on your rifle? $1000? More? Less? Then consider something like a Husqvarna M96 in 6.5x55. Sure ammo is $80 for 60 rounds (Prive partisan) but you should be able get a decent one for around the $450-$600 you now have enough change for 300 rounds and still be less than a new rifle. There are many other options in the 2nd hand market like that, I only mention these as from experience they are a very good rifle, 6.5x55 is usually very accurate and they are great for newer shooters to develop on.

  4. #4
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    As above, if you tell us what you want to use it for then that will help a lot.
    The other option for cheaper ammo is reloading but that's likely to be a bit further down the track.

  5. #5
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    Hi Choosy, this question comes up on the forum every couple of weeks (It's a good question and 95% of forum users are experts to answer it), so have a bit of a look/search among older poasts for more ideas.

    You've given several pointers to what might suit you, so here goes:
    The only centerfire ammo cheaper than 308 is 223
    223 is great for lots of sorts of target shooting (up to 200m).
    There are many sorts of target shooting: informal blatting milk cartons, regular practice on paper taergets for score to develop classical 4 position technique, NZDA and ISU full target equipment match, Hunter class range competition, hunter field target (steel gongs), service rifle (& E Cat/MSSA), NRA prone target rifle and Free (F Class), informal group shooting with rest or bipod, benchrest competition and that's some just common rifle disciplines with your clothes on.
    If you get a .223 you still won't have a rifle you can hunt deer, fallow, sika, pigs or goats with (an experienced expert can but not a new shooter). The main hunting you can do with .223 class cartridges is for rabbits, hares or wallabies if you have access to a large remote farm. If you want capability to hunt deer you need at least .308 / 7mm08 / 6.5x55.
    If you decide you like the Ruger .22, then look very closely at getting a Ruger centerfire if there's one with similar balance, feel and operation. A matched pair of .22RF and .308 would be a great combination. Likewise if you can get similar scopes on both (eg Leupold VX1 3-9x40 or Burris, Redfield etc equivalent depending on your budget or VX3 if you can spend a lot.) then you will be another step ahead. Don't go above 12x unless you spend more than $1000 on a scope. Go for something standard with no frills for a start and avoid wonderful new brands or features.
    There you go, now I feel like an expert too.
    308, WallyR, Fawls and 1 others like this.

  6. #6
    Member Beetroot's Avatar
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    Either 223 or 308 will be cheapest to shoot, both with good variety/availability of ammo.
    If you are planning on shooting lots (eg 50 rounds of centrefire every weekend) then 223 is going to be a lot cheaper, but reloading will be better.

    Hopefully you can appreciate that "target shooting" is an extremely broad term.
    If you are just going to be casually shooting gongs and paper under 500m then definitely 223, the Hornady 55gr training ammo is great stuff, along with some 62gr FMJ options.
    A Howa will probably give you best value for money, or something a bit nicer (more expensive) the Tikka T3 is very hard to beat.

    If you are wanting to shoot past 500m regularly then 308 will be a better option, 223 will do it, but you will probably need to reload, in which case 308 will still be a better options but you could start looking into other calibers like 6.5x55 7mm08 etc.

    If you could expand a bit more on what target shooting means to you, as well as any other person and a budget, then you forum members can offer more specific advise.
    TheChosenOne likes this.

  7. #7
    Member sako75's Avatar
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    Sako 75 .308 wood/stainless
    Only option to better this would be the same in 6.5x55

    Admin - lock this as the go-to answer from now on
    Danny and shooternz like this.

  8. #8
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    Hey Thanks for the reply guys, I had a look at Ruger American .223 (Is about $1100, will add a Leupold VX-1 40mm) to it. Its kinda same combination as my rimfire (Ruger American Rimfire + Leupold VX-1 Rimfire), does that .223 rifle and scope combo sound alright?

    Thanks

  9. #9
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    If you can find a 6.5x55 it will stop anything in nz without busting the bank

  10. #10
    Member northdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
    Hey Thanks for the reply guys, I had a look at Ruger American .223 (Is about $1100, will add a Leupold VX-1 40mm) to it. Its kinda same combination as my rimfire (Ruger American Rimfire + Leupold VX-1 Rimfire), does that .223 rifle and scope combo sound alright?

    Thanks
    in that price range it would be hard to go past a tikka i finally gave in and got one and havnt looked back they are one of the few who cater for us leftys as well

  11. #11
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    The beauty of shooting is that your diffinative first choice is always 80% right, and therefore requires future correction.
    Boar Freak and WallyR like this.

  12. #12
    Member Beetroot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
    Hey Thanks for the reply guys, I had a look at Ruger American .223 (Is about $1100, will add a Leupold VX-1 40mm) to it. Its kinda same combination as my rimfire (Ruger American Rimfire + Leupold VX-1 Rimfire), does that .223 rifle and scope combo sound alright?

    Thanks
    What distance to you plan to regularly shoot out too?
    Do you plan to hunt with it?
    Is your budget around $1500?

  13. #13
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    About 400 meters, and no not hunting at all. And yes hopefully around 1500 depending on how much I have left after I buy 10/22.

  14. #14
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    Either a 223 or 308.

    A heavy barreled 223 with hand loads can shoot paper competitively out to 1000 yards in lighter winds - 800 with heavier winds.

    308 is more expensive to reload - I've done both. Almost 2x propellant in the 308 and projectile is almost 2x cost to reload.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
    About 400 meters, and no not hunting at all. And yes hopefully around 1500 depending on how much I have left after I buy 10/22.
    You stated you already have a 22 so dont worry about the 10/22, you wont miss much and you can use the change to buy decent ammo. besides once you get a 10/22 you will spend thousands buying bits and bobs to make it better when it should have been that good to start with.....


    On a more serious note, You do need to consider what you expect to get from the rifle. Once you step up to centrefire most better quality ammos do not make a great deal of difference in price between calibres. The only major reason 223 and 308 are the cheapest to shoot is the availability of bulk ammo. These cheaper ammos are usually not the best quality. But decent ammo such as Highland, Hornady, Winchester, Partisan, Remington and Sellior and Bellot just to name a few, are very similarly priced between most of the major centrefrie calibres. Check the price difference between calibres of any one of those brands.
    For example

    Hornady Whitetail hunting ammo (middle of the road ammo)

    223 = 44.99
    243 = 49.99
    6.5x55 = 49.99
    6.5Crdmr= 49.99
    270 = 49.99
    7mm08 = 49.99
    308 = 49.99
    30/06 = 49.99



    So in that respect most calibres are similarly priced to shoot at a practical level. Reloading makes a big difference if you shoot a lot, but the cheapest calibres to shoot are debatable. Is it cheaper to shoot a less expensive round if it takes two or three shots to hit what you are aiming at?

    the best thing for you to do is think about what you want to achieve with your rifle. The find what calibre will do this, then fins a brand of ammo that works well for you. For most hunting in NZ I could easily suggest ANY of the calibes above with the exception of the 223. (Not recommended as a large game rifle in the hands of a newer shooter.)

    I usually suggest 308 as if you walk into ANY ammo shop in NZ there will be a selection of 308 on the shelf. If not, they probably dont sell ammo.....If you are slightly built or find recoil uncomfortable, the 6.5x55 would be my second choice and the 270 as a last. But all will do what they are asked to do.

    And practise with the ammo you hunt with. Get comfortable with the gun and how it works. By all means use cheaper ammo to start with. Most will out perform the shooter initially accuracy wise.
    gadgetman and Beetroot like this.

 

 

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